Wall Street Journal (Print)

An Emotion in the Sky

10. Dezember. 2011

The Fühlometer—literally translated, feel-o-meter—is an emoticon, 16 feet in diameter, fashioned from neon tubes and designed to be placed atop a building. The device’s Berlin-based creators most recently installed it on a lighthouse in the Bavarian town of Lindau (at right) and are now in talks with officials in their home city about showing it there.

The brainchild of three artists interested in the issue of surveillance, the installation includes a camera that snaps photographs of nearby crowds at regular intervals. Face-recognition software analyzes the expressions in each photograph and produces a formula capturing the general mood, which then appears on the neon face—smile, frown or anything in between. (No ironic winks, however.)